Top executives of Crocs Europe and Medical Footwear have both reacted strongly to an article published in the July 2 edition of Shoe Intelligence, emphasizing that there is no kind of agreement or arrangement between the two companies to split the European market for their respective clogs. Our article said that the two companies had struck [a sort of «gentlemen’s agreement»] whereby Medical Footwear would attack the mass consumer market with its Quivas brand of clogs, while Crocs would concentrate on the higher end of the market.
The article reported that Rémy Quilliot, director of Medical Footwear of London, had registered the design of a clog with holes and with a strap, similar to Crocs’ most popular models, all over the European Union on Oct. 21, 2002. Crocs officials claim that the design features were not quite the same as those of their clogs, and that Quilliot’s design was only registered in certain European countries. Quilliot has no comments on these points.
However, Quilliot disagrees with another passage of our article where we say that he has launched a holy war against infringers operating in the low-end segment of the market, leaving Crocs to fight against the higher-end brands. Quilliot says he will wage his war against any company infringing Quiva’s international design registration, regardless of its position in the market, but he would not say whether he was planning to sue Crocs.
On a technical note, Quilliot further points out that only the professional range of Medical Footwear’s clogs is anti-static and EN 347 certified, but uses a different material from the EVA injected range of Quiva branded clogs for the consumer market, which doesn’t have anti-static properties.
Taking a similar position as Medical Footwear, Crocs’ executives insist that they will continue to protect their own intellectual property rights in Europe against infringers, but they would not say whether they plan to attack the Quiva brand in court. At the recent Bread & Butter and ISPO Sport & Style fairs, Crocs did not take any action against the Birkenstock group, which was offering similar and yet different versions of EVA clogs under its Betula and Birkies brand names.
At the Bread & Butter show in Barcelona, Crocs presented a wider range of shoes using its lightweight Croslite material, including some fur-lined styles. In a reserved area, Crocs even showed to potential customers some dressy leather boots and pumps using Croslite in the insole for comfort. They are already being offered in the USA, but the company has not yet decided whether it will introduce this so-called Crocs for You range in Europe.
Separately, Crocs and its Jibbitz subsidiary have reportedly together filed a lawsuit against a tanning salon in the USA. The suit alleges that Tan at the Beach has been selling foam clogs and Jibbitz-like accessories under the names Crocos, Crocos Clogs, Crocos Shoes and Crocos Charms. Further, Crocs says that one of the tanning salon’s two owners, a certain Dane Laster, has been «cybersquatting,» or using the web address www.crocoshoes.com, which Crocs says is too close to its own trademark. In addition to asking for damages and trial costs, Crocs and Jibbitz are requesting that the website be shut down and that the tanning salon cease sales of the footwear and accessories.
Meanwhile, Crocs has extended its sports-related licensed agreements by signing with the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB).